CHICAGO (AP) — After making headlines with his cell phone at home plate during the All-Star Game, Nelson Cruz is letting his bat take over.
Cruz hit a go-ahead home run for the second straight day, a leadoff drive off Chris Beck in the 10th inning Sunday that led the Seattle Mariners over the Chicago White Sox 7-6 Sunday.
Cruz connected on a 3-0 pitch.
“It’s location, something you can drive,” Cruz said after his 19th home run. “It’s not every time you’re going to get it.”
On Saturday night, he hit a go-ahead homer in the sixth inning, capping the week in which he handed his phone to Yadier Molina at the plate in Miami and asked the catcher to snap photos of Cruz with umpire Joe West.
Seattle has won four in a row while the White Sox lost their fourth straight, despite two Avisail Garcia home runs helping Chicago to an early 5-0 lead. Edwin Diaz closed all three games of the sweep as the Mariners improved to 46-47 as they try to stay in the AL wild-card race.
“We’re playing good ball. Our guys understand we’re kind of up against it. We need to kind of turn it on here,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It’s nice to see guys come back refreshed, a lot of energy in the clubhouse and our dugout, and it’s playing out on the field.”
Diaz struck out Jose Abreu, Todd Frazier and Avisail Garcia — all swinging — for his 16th save in 19 chances. Nick Vincent (3-1) earned the win.
Danny Valencia and Kyle Seager also homered for the Mariners, who swept the White Sox in Chicago for the first time since 2003 when designated hitters Edgar Martinez and Frank Thomas anchored their lineups.
“It’s crunch time for us. These next couple weeks will be very telling to see the direction this club decides to go in,” Valencia said. “We believe in each other here, we have a really good team in here, and everybody’s expecting us to have a good second half and make the playoffs.”
Chicago gave starter Derek Holland a lead on the homers by Garcia and a two-run shot by Omar Narvaez.
But Holland allowed a solo home run to Seager in the fourth and then got in trouble in the fifth.
Holland wasn’t helped by his defense, as shortstop Tim Anderson threw away a potential double-play ball for his 21st error of the season, tops in the majors by seven. Two batters later, Valencia hit a three-run drive to make it 5-all.
“You want to keep it as clean as possible, period,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said after his team committed three errors. “You play a major league ballgame you want to play every team as cleanly as possible because you know at any moment someone could take advantage of those particular situations.”
Holland threw 5 2/3 innings, allowing six runs — five earned — and striking out three. He is 1-5 with a 9.82 ERA, with 13 home runs and 40 earned runs allowed in 36 2/3 innings since June 1.
Anthony Swarzak relieved Holland with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth inning and allowed Guillermo Heredia to score on a wild pitch for a 6-5 lead before striking out Jean Segura.
Chicago tied it at 6 on Abreu’s RBI double in the seventh.
Seattle rookie Andrew Moore lasted three innings, allowing three home runs, five runs and six hits. It was the fourth start of his career and the first time he did not get through the sixth inning.
Holland made the play of the day on a one-hop liner by Robinson Cano in the fourth inning.
The lefty made a behind-the-back stab on the play, but the ball was stuck in the webbing of his glove, so he tossed the ball and glove over to Abreu at first base.
He then retrieved a new glove from the dugout.
“It’s broke,” Holland said. “When I caught it, it felt heavier than normal when you catch a ball, so that’s where I was like freaking out a little bit about what to do.
“It’s stuck in-between it and broke the lacing. I saw (Jon) Lester do that before. It’s just one of those things. It’s cool.”
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Diaz said he’d be ready to pitch Monday for a fourth straight day if called upon for the series opener in Houston.
Mariners: Rookie RF Mitch Haniger had a splint on his swollen right index finger and is day-to-day. He was injured trying to bunt on Saturday night and left the game because he couldn’t throw. He had X-rays, but the team didn’t announce a result. Mariners manager Scott Servais said he will miss a few days.
Mariners: Seattle heads to Houston for three games with the AL West-leading Astros. LHP Ariel Miranda (7-4) of the Mariners will face RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (7-2).
White Sox: After a day off Monday, the White Sox will play host to LHP Clayton Kershaw (14-2) and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday for the first of two games. RHP Miguel Gonzalez (4-8) is scheduled to make his first start since June 14 after spending time on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.
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